The roller coaster ride for UMG-silicon production at Timminco would seem to be over for the time being with the company announcing it has completely stopped production due to lack of demand and plummeting prices. Timminco’s silicon metal subsidiary, Becancour also suffered from low quality issues with much of its production in 2009 returned to the company from its customers. Becancour has switched to silicon metal production, which is showing stronger demand from polysilicon producers. However, the company reiterated its difficult financial position and going concern issues.
“At the same time, we remain committed to opportunities in solar grade silicon, and continue to pursue our goal of enabling our customers to manufacture solar wafers and cells that are indistinguishable from those made with polysilicon,” noted Dr. Heinz Schimmelbusch, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Timminco. “In the short term, we have suspended solar grade production pending evidence of sufficient customer demand and commitments to justify a resumption of production.”
Solar grade silicon net revenues for 2009 were only CDN$5.1 million (182MT, excluding product returns) compared with CDN$61.7 million (1,045MT) in 2008.
Acccording to iSuppli Corp, polysilicon prices declined by 80%in 2009. That forced Timminco to progressively reduce its UMG-silicon prices and write-down inventory. Timminco’s average selling price in 2009 was CDN$51 per kilogram compared with CDN$62 per kilogram in 2008.